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May 19, 2006
Word of mouth: Mostly offline and positive
The nature and tone of word of mouth, by the numbers:
- 56: The average number of times an American discusses brands in ordinary conversations every week.
- 72%: The percentage of brand-related opinions delivered from a person to a family member or personal friend; 13% are delivered to co-workers and 7% are delivered by a professional or expert on the topic. (I suppose that puts us marketing bloggers in the distinct minority.)
- 41%: Number of conversations about brands that reference an item seen or heard in the media or in marketing material; 15% refer to an ad, 8% refer to a form of editorial or entertainment content, 5% refer to a point of purchase item, and 4% refer to the lowly coupon or other promotion.
- 62%: Percentage of marketing-related discussions described as "mostly positive."
- 9%: Percentage of marketing-related discussions described as "mostly negative."
- 92%: Percentage of word of mouth conversations that occur offline; 71% of those occur face-to-face, and 21% occur by phone.
Previously research by Walter Carl at Northeastern University revealed that 80% of word-of-mouth conversations occur offline, but his sample group was primarily college-age students.
It's pretty clear, though, that the most word of mouth occurs primarily while we're not sitting in front of computer screens.
Other blogs that reference Word of mouth: Mostly offline and positive:
» People talk from livingbrands
Some good word-of-mouth numbers over the Church of the Customer. Always handy to have. Most interesting: 92% of recomendation conversations still happen off-line, the majority face-to-face (we still like to see the whites of their [Read More]
» Numbers on the Nature and Tone of Word of Mouth from Site-9 Weblog by Bjoern Ognibeni
Jackie Huba from the Church of the Customer Blog found some interesting numbers on word of mouth in a recent study (PDF) done by the Keller Fay Group:56: The average number of times an American discusses brands in ordinary conversations every week. 92%... [Read More]
» Word of Mouth from Killer Innovations
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» Research Reports on Word of Mouth Marketing from the Web Chef's e-Bytes
WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) reported on a research study by Sharpe Partners that found that 89% of Internet users shared content via e-mail, with 25% sharing content with others at least once a day. Humor led the way [Read More]
» Harnessing word of mouth from Expertise Marketplace - Professional Service Firm Marketing Blog
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Offline WOM being predominant over online WOM is not unusual to me as most people feel it's easier to talk than write, and they prefer NOT to be put on written record for positive or negative reviews of anything unless they can remain anonymous, in my opinion.
This only goes to prove that institutionalized WOM works best when there is no "paper trail" of disclosure or non-disclosure. I also believe that a certain (slightly larger) percentage of the population believes that "if you don't have something good to say about something or somebody, then don't say anything at all." Therefore, I believe that most people will feel more at ease in openly spreading the "good news" vs. the "bad news".
Also, in institutionalized WOM, "connectors" certainly don't want to spread too much negative WOM. Why? Because their common sense tells them that the companies that hire marketers on a consistent, persistent basis would not keep doing that, if more than 50% of the time, potentially "sales damaging" things were being buzz'd downstream.
However, any negative WOM depends on how much of a "loss" the initial WOM person felt when the WOM process started. Why? Because, if the initial person felt a personal loss of some kind, that negative WOM could spread faster and wider than positive WOM depending on the perceived severity of the loss.